Friday, March 31, 2017

Alamo Lake

Odometer 54830
Trip Meter 147 Miles

Alamo Lake, AZ

In our previous posting we had finally gotten the turn signals to work on our toad. (towed car), and headed west out of Prescott Valley and skirted around the north side of the city of Prescott.

Our destination today is Alamo Lake State Park in the Arizona outback.  147 miles, as the map says, 3 hours by car, and about 4-1/2 hours by RV (including a 1/2 hour for lunch alongside the road somewhere)

We decided to stop and make lunch near the charming little community of Skull Valley.  This community of 525 residents was home to George Phippen a renowned Western Artist who was also a personal friend of Joan's parents.  Joan's dad and George were buddies in the Army.  Incidentally the valley got the name from human skeletons found by early settlers, presumed to be from a battle between Native American tribes.

The map is always deceiving in how easy it would be to get from here to there- just follow the blue line -eh?   A little geography lesson is in order to understand why this route is going to be a little tricky.  The state of Arizona is cut across in the east - west direction at about the upper 1/3 of the state.  This is the edge of the Colorado plateau know in Arizona as the Mogollon Rim (mo-go-yawn)
The Mogollon Rim is an escarpment characterized by high cliffs of limestone and sandstone.

Arizona Highway 89 as it descends 3000 feet to the valley below
Most savvy RVers carry with them the Mountain Directory West which gives you a heads-up on what to expect on the major highways on this side of the Mississippi.  Here's an excerpt from our copy of the Directory on Arizona Highway 89 for this area "Not recommended for trucks pulling trailers over 40' long- 5-1/2 miles of 5-6% grade with many 25 and 30 mph curves"  Yep- that just about nailed it!
We are fortunate to have a very good transmission braking system on this coach.  Flip a switch on the dashboard and when you lift your foot off the throttle, or apply the foot brake, the trans gears down.  The switch is labeled "exhaust brake", and I thought it was, for about the first year I owned the coach.  At Camp Freightliner, Mike Cody set me straight.  Whatever the case, it worked to get us down the mountain with very little use of the brakes.

Wenden, AZ where we leave Route 60 and take Alamo Road

At Wenden, we turned onto 2nd Street, which becomes Alamo Road.  We had been noticing that there was a lot of dust in the air. We have had a headwind for most of the trip so far and the wind is not forecast to abate until late tonight or early tomorrow.   The picture above shows a little of what I'm talking about if you look down the road you should be able to see dust to the horizon.  Alamo, by the way is EspaƱol for Poplar, a tree that is very common to the wetter areas like draws, and arroyos in this area.

Dust fills the skies,  blowing from the tilled agricultural land

Here is another photo showing the blowing dust.  I'm blaming it on the plowed up ground around the agricultural areas here in the Wenden valley.  Hope it doesn't plug up my air filter prematurely.

The roadside looks like a botanical arboretum filled with flowers

Alamo Road is only 34 miles long, from Wenden to the lake.  It is nicely paved and two lanes- but it is very narrow with NO shoulder- I mean, you deviate from your lane and you're in the dirt.  Google Maps show the car travel time as 1 hour and that's close to what it would have taken us if we hadn't stopped to take pictures of the beautiful flowers blooming everywhere!

Beautiful blooms on a Prickly Pear cactus

 No place to pull over, we just stopped in our lane and dashed out to take pictures.  Luckily the traffic was sparse, and we could get away with this bad behavior.

Home for the next two nights at Alamo Lake

We got to the State Park and found our reserved site.  The wind that has been with us all day was still with us, and was strong enough to knock over your lawn chair as soon as you got up.  We retreated into the bus and had our sundowners inside.

This would be a sunset if it the sky wasn't black with blowing dust

Sundown looked like this with all the dust in the air, the sun struggled to get through.
Alamo Dam on the Bill Williams River

The next morning we drove down to the dam that hold back the Bill Williams river and forms Alamo lake.  There is a very nice overlook with a picnic pavilion and restrooms, and a sign erected by the Corps of Engineers.  The water retained here goes eventually down to the Colorado River just below Lake Havasu.

Looking southeast over Alamo Lake

In this overview of the lake, our RV is parked down the right hand side of the lake approximately where the spot of sunshine is.

Tomorrow takes us further west to the town of Quartzite for a few days of dry camping before we head over to the Salton Sea and the hot springs at Niland, CA.

Your Traveling Friends,

Jeff and Joan

No comments:

Post a Comment